Younus eager to provide relief

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Younus Khan

Younus Khan directs his troops in the field as Pakistan successfully defend a total of 149 for four at Trent Bridge

Skipper Younus Khan believes winning the ICC World Twenty20 would provide a massive boost for trouble-torn Pakistan and the nation's cricket lovers.

Pakistan booked their place in Sunday's final at Lord's via a seven-run victory over South Africa at Trent Bridge.

A fine all-round performance by Shahid Afridi was the main reason for Pakistan clinching a place in their second successive Twenty20 final after losing in 2007 to India.

Afridi hit a rapid 51 off 34 balls with eight fours and then picked up 2-16 in four overs.

"We know it will give a big lift to everyone back home if we can win this competition,” said Younus. “This World Cup is everything to us.

"We are suffering from everything in Pakistan and everyone knows about all the fighting, a lot of fighting. If we can lift the cup, it will provide great cheer for the people."

Pakistan have gradually improved since their thumping early defeat by England at The Oval and were able to successfully defend their total of 149 for four against the previously unbeaten Proteas.

Younus added: "We have been slow starters in this competition but suddenly we are in the final.

"In Twenty20 cricket it is all about things coming together at the right time.

"I have match-winners I can call upon like Afridi and Umar Gul, who is improving every day.

"The plan for the final is to play our natural game and do well in bowling, batting and, especially, fielding.

"I felt we were 15 to 20 runs short tonight and South Africa are capable of chasing 200, but we responded well."

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith departs for 10. Thereafter he could only watch as South Africa slipped to their first defeat of the competition

South Africa counterpart Graeme Smith saw his side fall at the penultimate hurdle once more in a major tournament, but he had no complaints with the final outcome as 64 from Jacques Kallis proved to be in vain.

Smith said: "It is obviously disappointing and sad to be leaving now. We played some great cricket in this tournament and played some great cricket today.

"But Pakistan brought their 'A' game to this match and every cog worked well for them.

"Afridi was the difference. His four overs brought Pakistan back into the game. We lost our way and never got back into it.

"I think we deserved to be in the final with the way we performed during this tournament, but that is not how it works. Pakistan played better than us."

Smith rejected the theory that South Africa lose their nerve at crucial stages in the big competitions and insists his side are heading in the right direction.

He said: "Every time we lose an important game, that word ‘chokers’ is thrown around.

"But we have played great cricket and I am proud of the way the guys have performed.

"During the last couple of years we have been on an upward curve and the team will improve and get stronger and stronger."

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